The music mixing stage is an exciting part of the studio production process. It can be started at any time, but usually happens once everything has been recorded or programmed into your DAW.
Mixing is where you bring all the individual parts together and mix them into a whole piece of music – think of it like mixing all your ingredients together to make a cake. Knowing where to start when mixing music can be daunting, but there are plenty of simple tips and techniquesyou can follow to help you get where you want to go.
How to Mix Music
A Guide to Reverb
How to Use Reverb
When you’re recording your music in your own home, it’s likely you’ll be recording one track at a time, building your song up gradually. This is known as multitrack recording. Each instrument or voice will be recorded to its own separate track inside your DAW, and the mixer then brings these tracks together for you to blend in whatever style you choose.
Mixing is all to do with how you blend the tracks together, and there are a few different areas to think about as you’re doing it. Some of the main areas are:
- The volume of each track, controlled by the volume fader
- The left-to-right positioning of the track, controlled by the pan-pot
- The frequency content, changed with EQ settings
- The dynamics, using compressors and other signal processors
- Spatial dimensions, using effects like delay or chorus
- Special effects or interesting hooks, using tools like automation or sidechaining
You can create wildly different versions of the same song just by using different music mixing methods, styles, effects, and tools. You can change the dynamics of a song, or it’s emotional impact. The mix tips you’ll find here will really help you in creating some great mixes for your home productions.
To mix your productions in your own home studio, there are a few devices you’ll need to get the job done. Tools like a mixing desk, processors/effects, and studio monitors.
But one of the biggest advantages of using computers and software programs is that all of these processes can be done ‘in-the-box’ – inside the computer. There’s no need these days to have a large, expensive mixing desk, or to have loads of different outboard effects units. You can create great mixes using just your software.